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6 Tips to Prepare Your Employees for Tax Season

Payroll teams are already busy enough during year-end tax season with a multitude of tasks leading up to the delivery of employees’ tax statements.

This only becomes more difficult when you are distracted by a flood of questions from employees:

  • “Will I get my W-2 and ACA (Affordable Care Act) statements by mail or online?”
  • “Am I already signed up to get these electronically?”
  • “Yes? Where do I go to download them?”
  • “Ah darn, forgot my username and password, now what?”
  • “I lost my W-2. How can I get another copy?”

How can you improve the process for employees to self-serve themselves?

It’s worth the investment in planning so that employees can easily get their year-end tax statements.

Otherwise, your team will have to…

  • Do more administrative work that distracts them from their primary responsibilities
  • Spend more time than needed to answer questions
  • Possibly work overtime to make important year-end deadlines

All this heightens stress for everyone and becomes a real burden for your staff.

And challenging for employees, too.

But…

You can create a better outcome, for you and your employees, by making it pain-free to get their tax statements.

It’s too easy for employees to forget log-in details when doing this activity just once a year. So, help them contact your team in the proper ways. To get what they need, easily. And know where to go.

Here’s how…

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Helping people operate better during year-end tax season is not rocket-science. Just the opposite, it’s about proactive communication, with useful and repetitive reminders.

All part of the ‘a-little-goes-a-long-way’ model.

Make communications a priority, and your employees will receive their year-end tax statements in a timely, efficient manner.


Here are the 6 tips to communicate clearly to your employees:

1) Define a process

If you don’t have a concrete and methodical process for distributing tax statements to employees- create one. Make sure employees know where to get their statements (either through an online site or otherwise for paper statements). If online, it never hurts to reinforce how employees log-in with a username and password to receive their statements.

There are clear advantages to delivering tax statements electronically today:

  • Employees get access to their W-2s earlier and are able to file taxes and get refunded sooner
  • Tax statements can be revised and re-issued quickly when needed
  • Employees have easy access to view and download tax statements

Let CIC Plus help you deliver tax statements to your employees

2) Communicate frequently

When it comes to tax statements, no one should have to remember what to do, where to go, for something they do once a year. Broadcast reminders to employees several times as the tax season approaches. During open enrollment, too, and when statements become ready. Also, encourage employees to opt in for electronic statements. The IRS requires explicit opt-in verification first.

Employees will appreciate your many reminders.

3) Communicate clearly and concisely

Please, write your notifications in simple language, with no jargon, using as few words as possible.

There’s no need to go Mark Twain on your message ~

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Take the time to be clear and concise. Less chance for misunderstanding when you do. The Hemingway app is an incredible, online, free tool to help write your crisp messages.

4) Communicate the benefits

As we prepare communications, we need to remember what’s in it for the employees. Write from the reader’s perspective. Explain the benefits they will experience by following the instructions in your messages. An obvious benefit is that receiving tax statements electronically allows employees to complete their tax returns more quickly, which speeds up their refunds.

5) Communicate across channels

Most people need to hear or see a message multiple times, in multiple ways, to ‘get it’. Distribute your messages electronically, in writing, face-to-face and in meetings. Keep the message consistent for each type of communication.

It’s a good thing. We’re all in the people business.

A few simple and easy-to-implement reminders can make this tax season easier for you and your employees alike.

6) Communicate face-to-face, too

Employees are more tech-savvy than ever. However, nothing beats humans talking with humans. Even with your well-defined process to communicate clearly, frequently, credibly, and across channels—be available.

People will still have questions. People still want to talk with people.

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